Friday, October 27, 2023

Bose Frames Work Okay for Audio On The Go

Recently I have been trying out not-so-smart glasses. These have a Bluetooth connected speaker and microphone in each arm of a pair of sunglasses. The Lenovo Lecoo C8 Smart Sunglasses (under AU$20), were disappointing but Bose Frames "Bose Frames Rondo" (under AU$150 second hand), have much better sound quality. They also have a movement sensor built in, but Bose gave up on Augmented Reality sound, in 2020. The glasses feel much more robust that the Lenovo, plus the lenses are the same size and shape as many spectacle frames, making it easier to have prescription lenses fitted. There is no volume control built in, with one switch for on, & Bluetooth paring. Inconveniently, to turn them off you have to invert the glasses.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Audio Glasses Are Now Affordable But Not Great Sound Quality

There have been many attempts at smart glasses for consumers. Google tried and failed with Google Glass there are Ray-Ban | Meta Smart Glasses, and were Bose Frames. Google's were equipped with small screen for Augmented Reality, the Ray-Bans have small cameras for live social media, and the Bose have a movement detector for AR sound. None of these have been a great success. However, there are glasses which simply provide two way sound for phone calls, and listening to music. These are now down to $20. But are they any good? For phone calls, perhaps just, but not for HiFi.

One recent example I found widely offered online are the Lenovo Lecoo C8 Smart Sunglasses (mine were under AU$20 including postage). They arrived sooner than promised from Singapore. The box was a bit crushed, but the glasses were undamaged in the translucent plastic case they are supplied with.

Describing these are "Sport HiFi" is an exaggeration. They are robust enough for everyday wear, but not for sport. The sound quality from the inbuilt speakers is adequate for talking books, and phone conversations, but not music. The sound quality from the built in microphones is poor. The lenses are "Anti Blue", that is blue light blocking, but so are any dark sunglasses. The glasses have the advantage of using a standard micro-USB charging cable, rather than a bespoke one. They are lighter than Bose glasses, but with much poorer sound. The touch control on the side for volume works well. If you are uncomfortable with in, and over, earphones, then for occasional use, the Lenovo Lecoo C8 are adequate. There are alternatives, but not at such an affordable price.

Monday, October 23, 2023

New Plays Delve Deep into the Nature of Vanilla Slice

Greetings from the  Silver Gull awards at the New Theatre Sydney. We are getting readings.

The shortlist was:

  1. Next To Godliness by Alastair Brown
  2. Chicken In A Biscuit by Mary Rachel Brown and Jamie Oxenbould
  3. Burning by Christopher Bryant
  4. The Mews by Joanna Erskine
  5. The Dragonfly by Simon Thomson

The winner is Next To Godliness by Alastair Brown. Two of the plays feature death, which is not unusual, but two mentioned vanilla slice, which is. We need more discussion of the merits, or otherwise of vanilla slice. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Solar Car Palaces to Save the Planet

Solar carport at Addison Road,
Photo by Tom Worthington CC-BY 2022
This is to suggest promoting carports covered with photovoltaic panels (called "Car Palaces"), to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and free up resources to build more accommodation. Currently in Australia, it is common to have houses with one or two car garages built in. As they are built into the house, the same quality of materials intended for people have to be used for cars. Many of these homes then have solar panels installed over the roof cladding. The cladding is commonly tiles, which are difficult to fit solar panels to. The Addison Road Community Center in Sydney has an example of an alternative: a two car solar carport, with charging, built from standard components.

I suggest encouraging, through legislation, marketing, and incentives, homes which have freestanding carports, covered with solar panels. This would have the advantage of lower cost, as the solar panels would provide the roofing. Also the carports could be prefabricated, for quick erection. The carports could also be designed with provision for batteries, electric car charging,  heat pump hot-water system and air conditioner.

The capital, labor, and materials saved could be used to build additional accommodation for the homeless. However, there would need to be regulation, and incentives, to prevent homes simply getting larger. If garages were eliminated, along with underutilized Media Rooms, and spare bedrooms, enough additional accommodation could be built within a few years for all those currently homeless.

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Code Embedded in the Floor of ANU Building

Standing in the coffee queue on the ground floor of the Marie Reay building at the Australian National University today, I accidentally decoded the floor. I was intending to scan a QR code on a poster, but pointed the camera at the polished concrete floor. To my surprise my phone interpreted the pattern of stones embed in the concrete as the number 08371140.

There are secret codes, provided by the Australian Signals Directorate, embedded in the fabric of the Hanna Neumann Building at ANU. But I wasn't aware of this happening with other buildings.

Tuesday, October 03, 2023

Canberra Counter-drone System for Ukraine

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reports that Canberra company, Electro Optic Systems (EOS) is shipping its Slinger counter-drone system to Ukraine. This works very differently from the other Australian anti-drone system, the Brisbane based DroneShield. These place Australia at the forefront of anti-drone technology.

Ghost Gecko Concept
Droneshield jams the drone's electronics using radio signals from a gun shaped hand held transmitter. In contrast, Slinger is EOS' proven remote weapons system (RWS), with a radar added for precision. A cannon with proximity-fuzed fragmentation ammunition is used. This offers an easy upgrade of vehicles already fitted for a RWS (this could be an uncrewed, remotely operated vehicle).